Accra, May 17, GNA - World Vision Ghana, has awarded 36 pupils across the country who participated in the maiden edition of the cartoon competition on open defecation.
The competition, which lasted for 12 weeks, saw pupils read cartoon stories on open defecation in the Junior Graphic and answering questions on the stories.
It was in collaboration with Kings Hall Media.
The aim of the competition was to make the pupils change agents in their schools, homes, communities and among their peers on the need to stop open defecation and practice good hygiene and sanitation.
The pupils were awarded with cash prizes, branded exercise books and notepads, water and sanitation guide and pens.
Mr Attah Arhin, the WASH Technical Coordinator World Vision, speaking at the event said open defecation and sanitation was still a major challenge facing the country and as such bringing children on board in the campaign would go a long way as they would grow with the teachings.
He said World Vision was worried that nothing had changed in the country with regards to sanitation and open defecation, adding that, the right steps to take in addressing the challenge had not been done.
Mr Arhin said even though governments have embarked on initiatives to deal with the problem, sustainability had always been an issue retarding progress.
"We need to see a lot more happening in the sanitation sub-sector to see an improvement," he stated.
He said in 2011,a World Bank research indicated that Ghana loses $290 million in addressing sanitation and another $290 million on open defecation, saying that, these are huge sums that could be channeled to other sectors.
He attributed the situation to governments not prioritizing the sector and not engaging stakeholders effectively to face these challenges.
"Governments had committed to sanitation on paper but not committing resources to address the problem," he said.
He said Ghana needs to start doing the right things or else it would be impossible to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets on sanitation.
Mr Arhin noted that the second phase of the cartoon competition on open defecation would be launched soon and urged pupils to actively participate to fight the menace of poor sanitation.
Mr Emmanuel Adei, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kings Hall Media, said the issue of open defecation and sanitation was a serious problem that needed everyone’s involvement.
He said research shows that 30 per cent of both public and private schools do not have toilet facilities at all, 49 per cent of all schools in Ghana have access to water and 58 per cent of public schools do not have access to water.
Mr Adei said in other to assist in solving the problem, other programmes had been outlined to ensure that more pupils were educated to effect change.
He said an artistic workshop would be embarked on to enable children to use art and entertainment to propagate the dangers of open defecation.
"Symposia and press conferences will be held to keep officials on their toes because this is a serious problem," he stated.